Are you in the market for a new dishwasher? If so, here are some things to consider.
Obviously the first thing to consider is how much you are willing to spend. Units with all the bells and whistles can cost more than $1,000, but plenty of serviceable appliances can be had for $500 or less.
Standard dishwashers are 24 inches wide, and are available with most options and features shown below. But 18-inch dishwaters are also available, and there are even portable dishwashers and custom sized ones.
Capacity and use of space
Even though most dishwashers are the same size, there is variance in the capacity. More expensive dishwashers have less space between tines so you can fit more dishes. They may also have more jets to enable water to reach those smaller spaces. Capacity is usually listed in the product specs available on the manufacturer’s website, or at the store.
Speed and cycles
Most washers have the following cycle options:
- Normal, which is the default and is for a full load of dishes with an ordinary amount of soil. Energy and sound ratings are based on this cycle
- Express, which cleans lightly soiled dishes or smaller loads and is quicker than normal
- Auto, which uses the dishwasher’s sensors to adjust the cycle
Other options that may be available include:
- Heavy, for items such as pots and pans, or ordinary dishes with stuck on matter
- China, which lowers the water pressure for fragile items like fine china or wine glasses
- Rinse, to just spray the dishes
- Efficient, which uses less water and energy.
Check for the EnergyStar rating to select a unit that saves energy without sacrificing performance. The rating, and the unit’s estimated energy use and cost per year, should be visible on the front of the unit.
Some dishwashers are noisier than others. Quieter dishwashers obviously will cost more, but technology has made even the noisiest units much quieter than older models. The quietest dishwashers emit sounds in the low 40 decibels and lower. Your ability to deal with noise is a function of where your dishwasher will be located, and whether you will be around the appliance while it is in use. Noise ratings usually are listed in the product specs.
Style and finish
Obviously, you’ll want your dishwasher to fit in with the rest of your kitchen’s décor. Finishes generally will be white, black or stainless steel (you may pay more for stainless), but wood finishes and custom finishes are also available. You can also look at the shape of the handle (scoop, squared or rounded), and the location and type (physical buttons or digital touch controls) of control panels.